John Whitbeck co-chaired the Loudoun County Government Reform Commission subcommittee responsible for studying fees for county services, privatization and outsourcing. His subcommittee targeted the vulnerable county workforce and the after school program that serves the county’s poorest children. Whitbeck’s subcommittee report was delivered four months late. It made no outsourcing recommendations, and its major “saving” recommendation was to double the fees on the already profitable CASA after school program.
In one of the most lie-filled emails of all time, Eugene Delgaudio’s 2013-12-11 campaign email boasted:
The largest and most comprehensive budget cutting program and money saving ideas ever presented to Loudoun since my own “Delgaudio’s 100 Million Dollar Tax Reducation [sic] Plan” was produced by Loudoun County Government Reform Commission.
The scale of the Reform ideas is gigantic and could save BILLIONS over the next decade if implemented.
And I witnessed John Whitbeck lead the commission and worked [sic] on that night and day to bring all those ideas together. Those ideas will impact Loudoun and many other county governments throughout the comonwealth [sic] for many years.
Let’s fact-check this. The LCGRC summary report states that:
Leadership of the LCGRC continues to rest with Tom Julia (At Large) as Chairman, and Scott Hamberger (Ashburn) as Vice Chairman.
Whitbeck was not the leader and he wasn’t the second in command. Tom Julia was the leader and there was never any doubt that he lead the commission.
Whitbeck co-chaired Subcommittee #1, responsible for financial recommendations related to fees, privatization and outsourcing. His work is summarized under item #7 of the summary report, released January, 2013. The summary report lists item #7 “Completed,” with the caveat, emphasis mine:
The LCGRC expects to make its report to the BOS by the end of this month. It will recommend an approach, but will not enumerate a list of specific areas for privatization or outsourcing.
The LCGRC page links to Recommendations Regarding Fees for County Programs (05-30-13). That report, delivered four months after the 01-31-13 deadline, recommends additional fees for the County After School Program (CASA) which serves poor families with children.
The CASA program is provided in order to provide day care services such that parents are able to pursue employment opportunities.
In 2012, CASA served 1710 children and yielded a profit of $1,027,948. The report recommended a doubling of fees to yield a 43% increase in net profit, a total net yield of $1,681,155.
The LCGRC final summary report attempted to measure the alleged “billions” of dollars in savings. Here’s what the report concluded under item #8.
Can a new or supplemental system of metrics be established to better assess the cost-effectiveness of individual governmental programs or the operation of Loudoun County government as a whole? Specifically, should Loudoun establish a formulaic construct linked to economic performance, revenue collected, assessed values and/or other such measures that guides and limits spending in future County budgets?
Status – No action has been taken at this time.
Regarding Delgaudio’s claims:
- The LCGRC was lead by Whitbeck: False. Tom Julia lead the LCGRC.
- The LCGRC recommendations will save billions over a decade: False. They will capture an additional $6.5M profit over ten years by doubling the fees paid by poor families for after school care, fees to be raised from $321 per month to $600 per month.
- Whitbeck worked night and day to bring all those ideas together: False. Whitbeck delivered an incomplete report 4 months late.
To put this all in perspective:
The Loudoun government reports that its 2014 budget is $1.8B and that the average home, valued at $405,977, will see a $69/year tax saving. If there are 150,000 homes, that’s an annual reduction of $10.35M or $103.50M over a decade, hardly billions, and hardly the work of the LCGRC. The LCGRC targeted the government workforce and poor people, and unfortunately it was effective. Ironically, had it not been for the cooperation of county staff, the LCGRC would have been powerless to recommend anything, except for the reorganization of the real property assessment function under Bob Wertz, Whitbeck’s GOP 10th CD’s finance chair.